Friday, April 16, 2010

It's Been Going Around

So you're sick.  Sick sick.  Keep-you-in-bed-all-day sick.  But you're 10 weeks out from your marathon and the schedule says 20 long miles -- tomorrow.  What to do.

I had to consult my friends at Runner's World for this one.  Yes, common sense says a runner should stay in bed.  Sleep it off.  Miss a day.  But if you know runners like I know runners, it's not quite that easy.  Especially when they are deep into their serious training plan and banking on a record breaking day.

This is where the Above-The-Neck Rule comes in to play.  If your symptoms are scratchy throat or sniffly nose, go for it.  But if your symptoms are deep down into your chest, with an achey body and an overall tired and uncomfortable yuckiness, stay home.

Take extra caution when training with anything worse than a minor cold because it can escalate into more serious conditions affecting the lower respiratory tract and lungs. Sinus infection, or sinusitis, is an inflammation of the sinus cavity that affects 37 million Americans each year. Symptoms include runny nose, cough, headache, and facial pressure. With a full-blown sinus infection, you rarely feel like running. But if you do, consider the 72-hour rule of Jeffrey Hall Dobken, M.D.: "No running for three days," advises the allergist/immunologist and ultramarathoner in Little Silver, New Jersey. Even without the presence of a fever, says Dr. Dobken, some sinus infections, when stressed by exercise, can lead to pneumonia or, in extreme cases, respiratory failure.

The lesson today:  listen to your body, not your training program when it comes to running.  It will keep you running longer and happier for life.

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